Friday, September 2, 2011

The Worth of a Sole

When I found out I was having a little girl, I was beyond being over-the-moon! Of course, there is only one clear advantage to having a girl over a boy, and obviously, that is getting to outfit the girl. I was especially excited (maybe a little too excited) to put itty-bitty shoes on my itty-bitty baby that I literally bought dozens of them as I waited for my little girl to make her debut. I mean, I had waited 41 years. There really was no stopping me! And let me tell you, they were not only the tiniest, but also the cutest and most stylish shoes EVER!

I collected ballet slippers, Mary Janes in black and white patent, old-fashioned ankle-strapped Sunday shoes, wooly Uggs, hand-made felt shoes, strappy sandals, Salt Water sandals, Minntonka fringe boots, and the list of crazy goes on and on. Lily was equipped with enough shoes in enough sizes to follow her into her first four years of life with no problem. It really was too much. And while I know that shoes really do not make the girl, you have to understand the kind of mental state I was in, which I believe is technically called the "crazy, insane, spare-no-expense, first-time mother state."

This whole footwear frenzy was not completely frivolous though as I had planned on documenting every month of Lily's life until she was two or maybe even three with a cute project involving her shoes. That justifies the expense, right? I wanted to take a cute pair of Lily's shoesies, photograph her little feet filling them, and then frame the shoes and hang the matching picture side-by-side on her wall. It was so innovative! So original! However, all of those clever ideas quickly faded into a blurry backdrop once Lily was born and her health and developmental issues became the forefront of my every thought.

Not long after her birth, Martin and I were in the neurologist’s office discussing Lily's mobility issues from that time forward. The neurologist began using all of this technical, medical jargon to explain her likely future when he broke character and so simply said, “She probably won’t walk until she’s four or five." Excuse me? Before he could start his next sentence, I interjected, “Did you just say, she probably won’t walk until she is four or five?” I was devastated. My eyes welled up and I kept apologizing as I had to get up for one tissue after another. All of my dreams of having a little girl running around me in the kitchen or holding my hand at the store all of a sudden came crashing to the floor. Thump.

When we got home that day, I tried to digest all the information that had just been fire-hosed down our throats. Lily may not walk. It was heartbreaking. I felt hopeless. For one reason or another, I found myself in Lily's closet, looking at all the miniature shoe boxes holding all of her fancy shoes. As I stared at those shelves, I realized that none of those shoes would really serve their true purpose of protecting her feet from the ground. Not one sole would enable my toddler to take off in a deadbolt dash to run away from me. Not one sole would twirl around me as she did her prettiest improv ballet. Not one sole would splash in puddles that she knows are meant to be splashed in regardless of my opinion. NOT ONE SOLE would ever touch the ground! I scrapped the whole shoe framing project. Actually, I forgot about it entirely until I came across this picture that I had taken of Lily when she was about 11-months-old in my favorite shoes of hers. It really was a cute idea.
Now Lily's two and a half and she's still not wearing out any of her shoes and doesn't look like she'll be doing it anytime soon. I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous this mini-shoe collection of Lily's is, especially since they are all still in impeccable shape; there's not one ding or scrape to prove that these shoes were even worn. I would still love to hear the pitter-patter of my "toddler" actually toddling. I can't describe the happiness I would feel to hear her tapping away on our hardwood floors, doing her best Shirley Temple. I would openly cry tears of joy to see her running through the zoo in her cutest, strappiest sandals while telling me all the noises that each animal makes. But I still hold on with hope and faith that I will see Lily walk one day. In fact, I really hope that she walks at four or five now that I realize how "lucky" that would really make me!

The truth is I don’t know if Lily will walk when she is four or fourteen. It really doesn’t matter to me anymore. I hope for her sake that she can walk and run and dance on her own sooner rather than later. And as soon as her little legs decide that it's time, rest assured we won't care a lick if she is wearing a pair of her prettiest, most sparkliest, over-priced shoes when she does. Bare feet will do just fine.

Post Script: All of Lily’s worn (but not worn-out) shoes were lovingly passed on to her newest cousin, Brooke (my sister, Lacy's daughter). Can you say luckiest little girl ever? Now Brookey wears them proudly and is just starting to scuff up her favorite pair of gold shoes. Look familiar? Give them a whirl, beautiful Brooke! Booyah!

Cousin Brooke models her favorite gold shoes.
Thanks for all the shoes, Lily! I love you!!!

P.S.S. Let's hope the hubby doesn't see this post, or I'll have some 'splainin' to do!